You

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When my eyes can’t see beyond the veil

The sound of silence makes my conscience pale

I think of you

 

 When the rustle of the leaves makes me skip a beat

I can’t trust my shadows for they often cheat

I think of you

 

Whenever the yogis speak of peace

I feel I am robbed, a victim of fleece

I think of you

 

The trophies and laurels that once stood tall

And the noble crest of which I beckon every call

Alone I realize that there is no mirth

Because despite it all I think of you

 

For every joy, and every tear shed

For all the restless nights in bed

From day to day, from night to night

I know I will survive

When I think of you

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Hidden Meanings in Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara

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Let me start by blowing my nose. Now as that’s out of the way, let me start again. The long hiatus from blogging, Bob (I assume your name is Bob), was due to a struggle similar to that of Batman  – when an unstoppable force meets an immovable object, but lets skip that part.

My first post this year is dedicated to the critically and socially acclaimed movie , Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara, or DZNM ( as a dyslexic would abbreviate).  To be honest, I quite liked ZNMD.  For a change, the title of a Bollywood flick finally had a direct correlation with the movie itself. Anyways, without taking up much time, here are the things I learnt, implicitly, from the movie :

– Your best friend won’t forgive you for having an affair with his ex-girlfriend until he finds his next one.

– He might still forgive you for that, but he’ll surely be even more pissed if you throw out his blackberry.

– If two out of three friends dated the same girl, then the third friend has a right to call her a bitch.

– A girl might choose to marry you even if you tell her that given a chance, you can marry for money. (Gotta give this a try)

– Tears become extremely visible after a session of deep sea diving.

– It is very very common for two people named Arjun and Laila to have a Christian wedding, be it any part of the world.  All the pain only because Zoya Akhtar suddenly had an idea.

– Nothing pumps up 3 Indians and a Russian chick better than  ‘Saarey Jahan se accha’  before a session of sky diving.

-Tomatina festival is the “next-big-thing” to hit India, especially Haryana.  Invites for “Tom and Tina Fastival” organized by Putt Jattan De Assossation at Chattarpur Farms are abundantly flowing in NCR already.  The idea of squeezing tomatoes playing dodge ball with girls sounds highly appealing to the Jats.  Balwinder Pasha, head of PJD, has already recommended Salman Khan as the brand ambassador for the same , as taking off one’s shirt is a mandatory.

– Never, I repeat, never show a ring, which you got for your mother, to your girlfriend.

– Raising a toast during engagements doesn’t even happen in those “Big Fat Indian Weddings” on NDTV Good Times.

– London is the new Lajpat Nagar/Karol Bagh for Delhi socialites. Cheap Prada.

– There are better chances of Digvijay Singh becoming PM rather than Abhay Deol’s  ‘Maine Tumhaare baare mein kuch suna hai ” trick working in real life.

– As you can see, the movie poster was completely original.

– The only way BPL, the appliance makers can come back into existence is by calling themselves KLPD.

– Just like music, sex has no language.

– And finally, the prerequisite for all of this to happen – M.O.N.E.Y.

Bottom Line : If you don’t expect to live till you are 40, then this is the best time to buy insurance.

The Blair Witch Project – Act 2

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Name : Dorai Raj ( The name is Raj , Dorai Raj – Dorengapapalli Muttiah Lymphosarcoma Ushantha Warnakulasurai Rajkumaradharamsena) 

Nickname: Suuuuper- Studda 

Job family:  Rajnikanth / Chuck Norris 

Job Title(s): Guide/Illumanati (fire place caretaker)/Cook/Gatekeeper 

Job Description (In Order of Priority): 

1. Marijuana (Yes that’s a verb in his dictionary) 

2. Marijuana 

3. Marijuana 

4. Booze 

5. Booze 

6. Take Long Treks and Windy Walks 

7. Speak in one language. 

8. Cook food. 

Before I begin to tell you about Dorai, the question is what is Dorai? Is Dorai the name of a satanic cult which I ignorantly joined on a weekend binge? Is Dorai the one who let the dogs out? Is he the P in Pneumonia? Is he Kaizer Soze? Is Dorai the Lost Symbol? 

To celebrate the Civil Disobedience Movement, Dorai was born in 1931 at a place called Ushantha, which is a suburb of Warnakulasurai, which was captured by the nomads of Rajkumaradharmsena. Hence he got his name- Dorai Raj – Dorengapapalli Muttiah Lymphosarcoma Ushantha Warnakulasurai Rajkumaradharamsena.  

Dorai’s favourite colour was blue, favourite number was 9 and his favourite dog was someone else’s. A big fan of Rajnikanth, Dorai successfully performed each of Rajni’s stunts like killing two stones with one bird, deleting the recycle bin, drowning a fish and sucking blood out of a mosquito. At a tender age of 19, Dorai watched a movie about the Masai of Africa and decided to head to a place called Ootacamund, a suburb of Nairobi. But, he accidently landed in Ooty and took up the job of flying kites, cooking food and rearing animals in Parson’s Valley. 

I felt that DR, as we called him, deserves this much of screen space as he was a man of Action.  At 80 years of age, this stud had been there, done it all – except learn any other language apart from Telugu. In terms of appearance, he had all the characteristics of a playing the role of Veerappan – Lean, thin, Dark Knight, White moustache and a solid amount of hemoglobin in his alcohol level.  

He mostly spoke through his silence which was mostly accompanied by sign language like – scratching his head while what appeared to be swearing , a solid namaste, and of course, the middle finger. 

So, where were we? I had just hit the bed and what seemed like a minute later, woken up by the scent of idlis. None of us (as in guys) took a bath and we went straight for the food. As it is guys don’t buy things and not make proper use of them. I had spent money on a Deodorant and this was its time to shine. 

I had barely entered the dining area when Kangan said, ” Ankit, you didn’t take a bath right?” 

I wanted to sue AXE. 

The breakfast was heavenly – idlis which melted in your mouth and an orthodox combination of Aloo Puris. Exactly 200 idlis and 50 puris later (of which Jolly had 180 idlis and about 30 puris), we decided to embark on the trek, which I later found out was actually a photography competition. 

As we were getting ready to take the short 4 hour trek, we conveniently forgot to take anything else apart form water. We hung around for a while around the brook, for specifically two reasons – 

1. The ladies had decided to prove that they were ladies by getting out of bed early morning and taking a bath (before a trek…ha ha). 

2. There was an interesting conversation going on between Jolly and Rujuta with Jolly accusing Rujuta of staring at his calf muscles for too long. We could see Jolly blushing already ;). 

3. Yes there is a 3rd reason as well(sue me). We had found the skull of a bison near the brook which bore a stamp of Maneka Gandhi. Francis and I were discussing about how to go about this expose’. 

THE TREK

It was about 10am as we headed out for the trek to the Nilgiri Hills. By 10:30am, we had managed to exhaust half the water we were carrying.  The trek was led by Dorai who was happily smoking pot along the way. It was as if he was lost if wasn’t high. Every puff seemed to give him direction. Following him closely was Kangan who was more than impressed with Dorai’s fitness level. She repeatedly tried asking him the secret to his fitness. 

“What DOES this guy have for lunch?”, asked Kangan. 

Dorai quietly pointed to the joint in his hand. Even more quietly, Kangan ignored. 

Behind Kangan was Francisco who, I guess was born with shades. Francis was perfect South Indian hero material. However, Francis lacked one of the pre-requisites of being in the South Indian Film industry – He had a fair complexion. That automatically disqualified him from taking a shot at it. 

In another hour or so, the plains ended and we found ourselves at the foothills of Nilgiris. The multidimensional array of Pine trees looked heavenly. 

It is time to take a break and introduce you to a covert challenge which had been going on. Welcome to the “The Amazing Race to a Gazillion Photographs (T.A.R.T.A.G.P.)”. The winner will be decided on the basis of the number of photographs taken during the entire trip. Let’s take a look at the Rankings till now: 

1. Neha 

2. Kangan 

3. Ramz-inderella 

4. Jolly 

5. Rujuta 

6. Divya 

7. Francis 

Back to the trek, by 2pm, we were sapped of all our energies, most of us were gasping for breath; Dorai was intrigued by the inability of our bodies to bear the brunt of what was his morning walk. The guy quietly smoked a bidi in total relaxation as if he had taken a cab to this place. Next, we reached a dam. Out came the cameras again. Jolly applied logic while taking pictures, Kangan applied Zoom, and Ramz applied the “secret ingredient” – the shoo shaan autofocus vattamattam kendrapalli SLR  lenses. If Divya focused on the moss, Ramz focussed on the Bacteria on the moss. 

After Dorai realized that he had had enough of fooling around with a bunch of cushion-loving, paper napkin friendly, taxi-borne “civilians”, and he signaled that we head back. The signal was of a cryptic nature which seemed to be a combination of all South Indian Slangs ever made. We got to know this through Francis who deciphered some of them for us (in a hush hush manner obviously). 

The return trip back was quite an eventful one. 

The first startling thing was an epiphany. It started off with a sudden realization that we had a stomach, which if, left unattended to, often growled like the Tsavo lions. 

The second thing we noticed was that three of our companions had disappeared. Those 3 were Subeer, Priyanka and Francis. After what seemed like half an hour, we saw the 3 emerge. The scene resembled the final scene in the movie Tashan in which Akshay Kumar( Subeer), Kareena Kapoor ( Priyanka) and Saif Ali Khan ( Francis) were seen in the silhouette of the clear blue sky; except that in this case, Subeer and Francis were carrying Priyanka. I could imagine the Tashan Song in the background. Music to my ears, music to my ears!! After what seemed like an hour, chief Vitalstatistix decided that she had had enough of this cruel journey and decided to take a rest. Dorai was furious as his pot supply was running out. As Francis and Subeer were helping Priyanka, Francis asked Dorai, “How much time will it take us to get there?” 

Dorai said,” Three hours”. Barely up, Vitalstatistix collapsed again  

After what seemed like 20 minutes, we decided to continue out journey. Supneet seemed pissed off. She just wanted the journey to end. Kangan was pissed for a different reason. Rujuta and Neha seemed chirpy as ever. The most Curious case was that of Ramzie. She was aging backwards. No one could ever tell that she had been through a 5 hour trek. She seemed to be as fresh as she was in the morning when I met her for breakfast. Subeer and Francis were having a workout. Jolly jokes started bordering the thin line between PG 18 and PG 21. Divya, well, was busy with her camera.    

 In about 1 hour , we were could see the Parson’s Valley, our sanctuary. Kangan fell to her knees, as if the Parson’s Valley was a temple of God, the Holiest of Holies. I don’t think she ever did this to any of the Tajs, Hyatts or Ritz. Parson’s valley didn’t even offer room service. Mahatma Gandhi would have been proud ;). 

Kangan, Divya, Jolly, Rujuta, Supneet and I were ones to do the touchdown. And boy we did it in style. True to our primary religion, cricket, we first formed a huddle and then immediately called for drinks. From a distance, we could see Francis running down for water. He had some. I took some for Subeer and Vitalstatistix who were now visible from a distance. 

It was 5pm. I finally went to take a bath. No sooner did I come out, than Subeer said, “We don’t have booze. Will you be able to go to Ooty and get it?” 

“I am game”. 

What I was not game for was the mode of conveyance. It was a Jeep; and believe me, a very rusty one. In about half an hour, Kangan, Divya and I got in and rode into the night. What we didn’t know was that a 40 minute bone-crushing, stomach twirling and ass-pinching ride was in store for us.

The Blair Witch Project – ACT 1

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Offsite: (ôf’sīt’, ŏf’-)
adj.
1. Taking place or located away from the site, as of a particular activity: an off-site Team Building operation.

2. A Bone crushing, Stomach-twirling, Hallucinating, Ass-pinching, but a TOTALLY WORTH IT ride to Parson’s Valley (a suburb of Ooty).

Just to make the impact of the trip a little finer, here is a before-after piece :

Neha (refer CAST):

Before: “I don’t drink. I won’t drink. I shan’t drink”.

After: “Hic. Puff. I don’t drink. Hic. Puff. I won’t drink. Hic. Puff. I shan’t drink. Hic.Puff.

Kangan :

Before the trek: I hate Parsons valley, they don’t even have a heater in the rooms. Filthy place……Why……Why God Why…..Why are we here?

After the trek (when Parson’s Valley is visible from a distance): Parson’s valley, I LOVVVEEEE YOU………… I BOW before you (She actually bows down).   

THE CAST :

It is never apt to reveal the details of a trip without defining a proper cast. We were a bunch of motley, unassuming, yuppie city slickers who, until recently had never set a foot on a hill higher than Mount Carmel, which, actually is a college. Here goes the cast:

Subeer AKA Su-Beer(Good Beer)AKA My Big Boss, Antonym ( SOBER )

The Parson’s Valley Trip was Subeer’s Brainchild. After having one glance at our physiques, Subeer fanthomed the magnitude of risk involved and immediately termed the trip as his “Revenge”(for crimes I know not of). This was the perfect “Safe Mode” strategy. Imagine ten people coming up to you and saying the trip was Crap; you could always escape by saying,” I told you it was my Revenge”.On the contrary, if they liked it, you could say,” I was kidding about the revenge crap.Hehe.” So, by doing this, SB had extended his Defensive Consulting Skills beyond the boardroom.

Jolly AKA  Leonidus the Spartan

Mr. Harpreet Singh Jolly a.k.a Jolly, whom we all believed to be an outlier surdy, showed us the polar opposite side of his personality on this trip. He firmly believes that Pulling one’s legs only makes one taller. He got drunk, showed off his calf muscles, and almost became a Spartan ;).  He has made sure that this post isn’t without humor. 

Kangan A.K.A Nak A.K.A. My Boss AKA K.

A fitness freak by choice, Kangan solemnly swears by the new age adage that cold water has calories. K was the reason Subeer had come up with the defensive armor thing. Her asking Subeer whether we would be putting up at a Resort confirmed his inhibitions. But one thing was guaranteed, if anyone could finish the trek without fatigue, it was K.

Francis a.k.a Francisco a.k.a.”Chilled”

Francis is a man whose default mood/expression/attitude/voice/clothing is always ‘chilled’. Full time celebrity, part time consultant, you never knew whether this guy was actually high or not, another reason being that he was always wearing shades.

Divya Rane a.k.a. D . a.k.a. Shane a.k.a. Div Div Divya

Divya is an easily embarrassed joke maker, with a plethora of Funny T Shirts. One of the few people who pulled Jolly’s legs, D reiterated the fact that D also stands for Drinking. She was adventurous and fun to hang out with. With a Masters in “How to shop till others drop”, she really takes Shopping verrrrry seriously.

Rujuta a.k.a. Ra-jhuu-taa:  as we discovered, was a.) a photography enthusiast b.) Shopaholic c.) Missing gym classes for the entire week before the offsite and was not feeling guilty about it (which she reminded us around 55 times in the 5 hour trek 😉 )

Supneet A.K.A. Supu Singh

Supneet is a person who can be happy, sad, crazy, whacky, mad, sane, crybaby, bullying and loving at the same time. To cut a long story short – She is FUN. Her favourite phrases, in her order of preference (reserved specially for me) are 1.) Useless (pronounced as Use-lass) 2. Donkey 3. Thappad maar doongi . She left me with a pack of cigarettes, which I have handed over to Neha.  Wished it was a Jack Daniels instead. SS is a nocturnal creature much like me, who thinks I am mad – can’t blame her though.  

NEHA aka Ahen aka The Professional or, Ultra Mild:

Well Well Well…Neha is full of surprises, some of them scary, others scarier. She was so much fun already, but at Ooty she just took it to a different level. Single handedly responsible for inflating our booze budget, Neha also made sure that Parson’s Valley would now be renamed as Puff Daddy Valley. 😉 I want to Frame the printout of her response to the Booty Tracker which said “I don’t Drink” to all questions. I guess its time to join the DNA – National Dyslexic Association. 😉

Priyanka  a.k.a. PT :

PT is a woman of few words and those words are Work Excellence(oxymoron). As I came to know, PT is the Francis kind – speaks less, listens more, 2 ears, 1 mouth and so on. She also inspired Jolly to get an Overall Sweater for himself.  

Ramana a.k.a Ramz a.k.a. Ramz – ies a.k.a. ( Ramz – k) – k is variable

To say that Ramz is a trek enthusiast would be an understatement. Trekking does to Ramz what marble flooring does to Punjabis in Delhi and MS does to South Indians – makes them complete. Ramz has a penchant of taking photographs of anything with the stamp of Nature. Born with an SLR camera in her hand with “macho optical ambidextrous shoo shaan lenses”, she has now (after the offsite) got a database of pictures which even National Geographic would be envious of. Apart from my fashion portfolio, she has also captured pictures of pebbles and moss as well as the insects on that pebble and moss.

Me. a.k.a. Yours Truly, Awesome 

And then there’s me. I don’t like blowing my own trumpet, so I won’t. Plus, I hear you need to remove your last two ribs if you really want to indulge in self-blowing of said trumpet. I like my ribs. 

So there, now you know the cast.

Act 1:

17th December, 2009

9am

Our ride to Ooty was a tempo traveler which looked exactly like an ambulance, replete with Green curtains. It was a routine 12 seater ride with a TV, but sadly, which we found out later, was for the deaf, as there was no speaker system. We were 4 of us on our way to the Bangalore Airport – Subeer, Neha, Francis and me. The vehicle was small, and had just enough space for the rest 7 who were about to board from the airport.

“Do you think we would fit into this bus Neha?”, I asked.

“Well that’s the motive, my friend – to make the team come really close”, said Neha.

The Mumbai and the Gurgaon team hadn’t slept all night, taken a flight at 5 in the morning and were at Bangalore by 9. The only people who eventually turned up late were the hosts.

I was meeting 3 people for the first time – Priyanka, Rujuta and Div Div Divya.

Kangan looked like she had got enough clothes to last for a year; Divya looked like she needed a smoke and Jolly had already whipped out his camera. After a slew of Jhapphiyaan, boarded the bus, leaving Jolly asking Kangan to pay him Rs. 40 for carrying her luggage.

So, we were off. After what seemed like an hour of pregnant silence with intermittent comments by Jolly mostly targeted at me, like:

“Munda thoda jhalla nahi hega?” ” Ankit ko hum patte pehnake pole dance karwaenge”.

Then Supu Singh came to the rescue, “Lets have a drink”.

Out came Francis with a bottle of Vodka. After what seemed like 2 neat shots each, we got down for lunch at a place called Kamath. Then, we waited for Supneet and Divya to finish a pack of cigarettes and then we got to the bus. Jolly, Kangan and Ramana were already out with their cameras.

Up next was a movie called Feeling Minnesota – a movie chosen by Neha. Within 5 minutes she was asleep. Jolly called it one of the top 3 Worse movies he had ever seen. He said he would have awarded it the first prize had there not been a certain scene featuring a “bullesye”.

Our next stop was Cafe Coffee Day. We proved to be the most un-profitable people for CCD – we just walked inside the CCD, went to the loo and came back to the bus.

Then we reached Ooty, which was, in one word – Mindblowing (in Russell Peters terms  MindBlasting…..Anything can blow your mind). What started after that was a myriad of concussions, headaches and puking sessions.

The ride from Ooty to Parson’s Valley was an hour and half long. And what a ride it was – I thought the bus was a cellphone in vibrating mode. The road, if any was through a dense jungle.

We were finally there – Parson’s Valley, a land lost in time! In every breath I took, I felt I was taking in double the oxygen. I could smell the purity in air, after which I realized that it was the food.

We went to our rooms and crashed.

Requiem For a Dream

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I wish I liked anything as much as my kids like bubbles. That’s sad. Totally sad. Their smiling faces just point out your inability to enjoy anything. – Knocked Up (2007)

My cousin Adi once asked me at Faridabad, “Who invented rain?”. “Mr. Pitambar from next door”, I answered. From then onwards, most of the things, as a rule, were blamed on Mr. Pitambar. Mr. Pitambar quietly took the responsibility of most things including the clouds moving away, the occasional powercuts that took place, the solar eclipse and India crashing out of the 20-20 World Cup. In addition to that, he was also was the Fake IPL player, Nemo, Hari Sadu, Lord Voldemort and also the one who let the dogs out. Well, as I know of, Mr. Pitambar never once complained.

Well, coming to the point, I have met some interesting people who do not know what they want to do in life when they are 22, but I’ve met some more interesting people who do not know what to do in life even when they are 40.  I recently saw a Titan ad which said- be more everyday.

When we were young and stupid, we could not only think frightfully out of the box, but we would change the entire box itself. 20 years later, people who wanted to be pilots became chefs, those who wanted to travel around the world became stock brokers huddled together in banks.

I bet half of the people who read this post wrote “pilot” in their essay titled “My Ambition in Life”. Speaking of which I remember some really peppy answers to that question in 3rd grade. A friend of mine, Anand, I remember wrote he wanted to be a doctor( sorry, nothing peppy about this one) ,Roshni wanted to be the Prime Minister of India ( I reminded her that it was the answer to “If I were the Prime Minister of India”, sigh), Anubhav wanted to be an astronaut. Other wicked answers included Actor ( Pattu), Bee-Keeper (don’t remember who),  Tarzan ( Modey ), Lion King (kondi) and my personal favorite – Ladies Tailor ( Patro – brilliant vision at a “fisalne waali” age).

Well, as the years went by, we lost more and more of ourselves. To put words to my thought, I would have to take help of another crazy bugger, Brian May(of the band -> Queen). Nothing reminds you of life more these immortal lyrics of this brilliant song – Too Much Love Will Kill You.

I’m just the pieces of the man I used to be
Too many bitter tears are raining down on me
I’m far away from home
And I’ve been facing this alone
For much too long
I feel like no-one ever told the truth to me
About growing up and what a struggle it would be
In my tangled state of mind
I’ve been looking back to find
Where I went wrong……….


In and Out

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4th roomAugust 4th, 2009 was Shruti’s birthday. But you have no idea who Shruti is, so I’ll just move on. August 4th, 2009 was also my first day at an advertising agency called Fourth Room Advertising.

Now, Fourth Room advertising, as evident from its name, was the most famous agency that Bangalore never had. It had the ground floor of a huge shady duplex as its office. As I entered this humble abode, I counted the rooms, as I pictured the “fourth room” to be something surreal like Rowling’s Room of Requirement. And so, I started counting the rooms.. One……Two……..Three…..Four….bingo – you guessed it right – It was a loo. So I was about to work in ‘Loo’ advertising.

As I took my first steps into the office, a receptionist, who looked like a toad with husky voice, croaked at me in a thick kannada accent, “Mr. Bharaadwujj, please sign aan thaa registaar; and that’s yaar seat over thare“. I ominously looked across the hall. There it was – a dim lit room as if it was the result of the first bulb which Edison had rejected. It looked more like a cave. I was given a net connection, a scratch pad, a pen ( I had to sign at two places to get the last two things) and most importantly I was given a bottle of water( which had a muddy tinge to it). So,  as an orthodox procrastinator with nothing to do, I inaugurated my stint by checking into my gmail account. Then Facebook, then wordpress and so on and so forth. In the mean time, a couple of faces whisked past me, muttering lazy Good Mornings on their way.

It was then that I saw Abhishek “Gaanjaa” Sagar online on Google talk – a dear friend of mine who had decided to take a plunge into holy crap…err….holy matrimony.. at a “tender” age of 22. “God Save the Queen” was all I could muster. Just that I pictured the queen smoking weed, Gaanjaa Sagar style. Then started my characteristic jibe, which led to a ruckus on the keyboard.”Has your biwi started smoking weed?” “Does she take after you?” ” Dude, Wipro won’t take a married trainee, you’re fucked”, “Dude,you’ve got a disease – One-gina”. The twittering noise of the keyboard was not taken well by the receptionist (“toadie” as I had begun to implicitly call her).

She got up instantly, as if someone had poked her nose with a screwdriver, and strode across the hall towards me. “You are naaaaat allouud to see chat in affice”. “Fyacebyook and are-kut are aalso naat allouud”.

Bitch.

“Ok Madam”. Anything for you toadie. FYI- I wasn’t seeing chat, I was merely chatting.

The best part of any advertising agency was its creative department. It usually consisted of interesting people who didn’t know how to live life the normal way, or how to tie shoe laces, how to get through a day without a cigarette, a chewing gum or keeping their mouths shut. They wore shorts to work, walked into the office with a pair of headphones and a mocachillo – put on their favorite song and surf the net. This was the life of a copywriter which I was leading earlier at another agency. The switch to 4th Room was due to the sole fact due to which all people change jobs – apna sapna money money! My interviewer could see the greedy image of the 1000 rupee note in my eyes. I took the job without a thought.

Coming back to the present, as soon as I entered the creative department, my hopes started plumbing new depths. I saw an art-director/copywriter/Creative Director/Visualizer – all embodied in ONE man, sitting in a dilapidated old chair. He looked straight out of the African jungle – darker than the dark continent, unkept hair and brown teeth. He was engrossed in  correcting the spelling mistakes he had made, some of which included- ‘sinnergy’ instead of “synergy”,’mamooth’ instead of “mammoth” and ‘cocker’ instead of “cooker”. I mustered a straight face and held out my hand. “Hi, am Ankit”.

“Yellow saar. I yam jeejee, thee creative”.

“Creative what?”, I questioned.

“I yam yin thee creative”.

“Oh….ok…great. So there must be other people in thee creative. I remember 4 people working when I had come for the interview”.

“Yusss. Thyere wyere 4. One yis yin Kerela nouu. Other two lefta.”

“Oh…ok..Well, tell me if any good copywriting contract comes your way”.

“Shoor”

“Whyee are you out aaf yaar seat Mr. Bharaadwujj?”, it was Toadie.

I was shocked,”Well, is this a classroom ma’m? Well, when does our boss arrive?”

“Yeel be yere by 12-30 pee-yum.” Yuck.

“And what am I supposed to do?”

“Well, be yat your desk for starters.”

She gave me a condescending smirk which I shrugged off with a look of utter ridicule and walked past her into my cave. I had nothing to do, stuck in the office with ‘toadie’ and ‘jeejee’. So, as I did in hindi classes in school, I put my head down and dozed off. Yes sir, that’s the last resort of a procrastinator who isn’t  allowed to use gtalk in office.

I was 1pm when someone woke me up. Toadie had done the honors. “Bass is here”.

Mr. Deepanjan(DP), my boss and the business head of the company (of 4 people including me) was the one reason due to which I had taken up this job. I thought I could learn a lot from this man. I remember the day I was interviewed. I was welcomed by toadie with a forced smile and I could see the place overflowing with work. I was sitting at the reception from where I could see the creative team battling their wits to get catchy punchlines. The 3 people in the client servicing division were finalizing deals over the phone, speaking of budgets in terms of lakhs and lakhs of rupees.

Yes, I knew that client servicing was the place for me. It consisted of selling nothing but a “perception of knowledge”. It consisted of making the client believe that you knew more than him. And that you could make more money for him if he paid you.

Ok, picture this – a Bharati Airtel office needs to promote a new scheme. It calls up 20 ad agencies. 60 of them turn up to promote their version of the ad. What would make your agency stand out?? Creativity…..naah….Every other agency in Bangalore has tons of creativity. Its taken for granted that as an ad agency you have to be creative. So what else could you offer was the  question. It was nothing but sheer presence of mind that was required for this job. And when I got the opportunity, I grabbed it with both hands.

So, here I was, just woken up by Toadie, and on my way to DP’s gufa, as I called it. Now, DP’s gufa was the only room in the office which actually looked like an office. It was smaller than the size of a double bed but had a very classy feel to it. I think DP had spent his entire turnover on the office itself.

As I entered the office, I saw Jiji already there. So, there were the four of us –  Four people with nothing to do. All we needed was a carom board in the middle.

“Welcome Ankit, I assume you are absolutely fresh”, Dp said.

“Never felt better,sir”.

“So, Ankit, welcome to fourth room. Well, I didn’t tell you earlier, but all our previous contracts have expired. We need new ones.”

I felt as if I had just swallowed a lump of ice.

“So, instead of a client servicing executive, I am also assigning you a post of a Business Development Executive. So you need to get clients first and then service them.”

In short..I was fucked.

“But sir, how will I…..where will I …..isn’t it the work of….why should I…I don’t get it……..thats not what I signed up for”…was all I could say.

“And please wear formals from tomorrow. Though I wouldn’t force a tie, I would be very disappointed if you don’t wear one. And also wear a blazer if you meet a really big client”.

I could see my inhibitions in flesh and bone. This wasn’t what I signed up for. “Sir, where are the other Business Development Executives? I saw 4 creative people and 3 BDE’s the other day.”

“The BDEs left due to non-accomplishment of targets. And the copywriting people were just not worth it. I do all the copywriting myself.” I could sense a futile sense of pride in him.

I could picture the ‘sinnergys’ and the ‘mamooths’ on my next client’s portfolio. I could also see some “dickheads”,”chimphumpers” and “pubegardeners”  right up with them.

“Well, sir, what will be my target?”

“For starters, it’ll be a sales target of 4 lakhs”, said DP, nonchalantly, as if he had asked me for a ten rupee note.

That was the final nail in the coffin.

“Right”, I said.

I knew this was it. DP had done a Munnabhai on me. There was no creative team, there was no client servicing department. It was a one man show and I didn’t want to be that man. I knew I would never get the huge salary I was being offered here.

It was 4-15pm when I came out of DP’s office. Most of my evening was spent checking my gmail account and updating my blog. I knew I wasn’t coming back tomorrow, so toadie might as well shout at me. I was always game on taking one with me on my way out of the office on account of employee harassment. “Can I have a coke toadie?”

“Whaaat did you kaal me?”

“Goodbye toadie. Hope you get someone better to boss around”.

I walked out. I realized one invaluable lesson from the above experience – Picking a perfect job is like picking a shirt from Pantaloons. You put on 3-4 and you choose the best. Well, I didn’t like the first one in this case. Could someone handover my second shirt please?

P.S. : On my way out, I asked DP, why the company was called Fourth Room Advertising. Well, as it turned out they wanted it to be a 4th pillar of democracy, the first three being – legislature, executive and judiciary.

Psst….and they call Shahrukh Khan a Meglomaniac.

GROW UP!!!

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Well, the number of times I have heard these two words in my life is probably more than the number the number of times I’ve brushed my teeth (once everyday people). No matter how old I was – be it 5, 18 or 22, my ears had got accustomed to these words to such an extent, that I no longer paid attention to their meaning.

The first time when dad asked me to “grow up”, I pointed at the flower pot right next to me and said, “You better do as he says”.

Now growing up, as easy as it sounds, is more complex than the Joker’s mind, more tedious than watching Love story 2050 and more grueling than translating Chekhov’s works back into Russian.

So, as we are involved in this mystic, surreal act of growing up, we are suddenly treated as grown ups, the process of doing so gets unnoticed. But, being the humble, honest, quick and easy human being I am, I shall now go on to enlighten you with my knowledge about growing up….Though I am not there yet. I don’t believe in paying taxes you know.grow_up

Growing up, for me is like a journey to the moon, I know I’ll never get there. I just like to admire it from a distance, appreciate its features, compare girls with it (ooh baby….you look just like the moon….just a shade darker though), and finally, my favourite part…like in the case of the moon,forget about it by morning.

Most people think that growing up is about realizing your responsibilities ( like the Indian football team did a long time ago), being serious about what you want in life ( money) and stuffing a control protocol chip in your ass( they are building one right now) .

Well, I would like to give you a quick and painless knowledge pill here – Its all about being miserable. The more miserable you are with life, the more you are said to be a grown up. Its not about the amount of the good things you can do, but sadly, it is the degree of compromise which you  are able to cope up with, its about the extent to which you can take the pain. That, my friend, is the true definition of growing up. This is the part, in which Joey Tribbiani would say,’ Whoa, you’ve lost me there…”

Growing Up, has an ultimate ally – COMPROMISE. Well, my dear reader, I have no intention of succumbing to this vice till the day  I am married. I would rather open a vada pav stall instead doing an MBA from a not-so-reputed B school. I would rather watch “Thank You for Smoking” once again rather than working as a professor.  That to me is the spirit of relentlessness, the “spark” which I have to keep alive in myself. Considering that I would sound like a Paro dancing around with a lamp which, er…. signifies Dev D’s life, in this case, ladies and gentleman, I am the Dev D myself.

Well. I guess you’ve had enough. If, you are willing to read more, you’re just too grown up. Is this proof that the fat lady is about to sing? (By the way, I know the fat lady’s name but it would be ungentlemanly of me to share that with the public, besides she’s really fat, so why take the chance?)…Well, I guess it is.